Category Archives: Tribeca

Frenchette

Frenchette has become a very popular place to eat since they scored some critical acclaim from the NY Times. Reservations are difficult to come by, but if you just walk in early and ask for a table by the bar, you should be fine. That’s what my wife and I did over the weekend.

We started with a pair of apps: the terrine and the mortadella.

The mortadella is $9 for about 3 slices of mortadella, placed atop a soft dinner roll and then hit with some shaved parmesan and black truffle on top. This was good, but a bit overpriced (and the truffle wasn’t really that flavorful enough to justify the cost).

The terrine was incredible. Probably one of the better terrines I’ve had. It came with toasted slices of baguette and jars of gherkins and Dijon mustard. A perfect way to start the meal.

They even still give you a bread basket with some nice butter for the table as well. We used that with the terrine as well.

Next up was the 100-day dry aged Masonic Farm rib eye.

That’s a garlic and herb butter you see there on top.

This was pretty good. Lots of really nicely tenderized meat, and tons of edible fat that tasted like meat jelly. The dry aged flavor came through in parts, but not in a wallop. I say this is about 8/10 on my flavor scale. Too pricey though at $135 for what was essentially a steak for one, even though they market this as a steak for two.

We didn’t stop there. We had to try the duck frites.

This was pretty good. While a few bites were sinewy, overall it was a nicely prepared duck breast. I’ve had better, but this is a really affordable and fun version of steak frites from the fowl kingdom.

I had high hopes for this last dish. Artichoke and couscous tagine.

It was bland. But not only that, there were hardly any pieces of artichoke in the dish. In fact, there was only ¾ of one artichoke in it. About eight olives, one or two small carrots, and a few strands of fennel. What a waste. At least I didn’t count on this being a main item.

Overall this was a good meal. I might consider going back for their beef steak frites or au poivre, but I think I’ve pretty much covered everything else that I wanted to try. If that frites doesn’t wow me, then there is no reason for me to come back other than for cocktails at the bar (they make some really nice stuff).

Some of the stuff here is good, but I’m not sure I agree with the NY Times critics who are losing their shit over this place. It’s just above average.

FRENCHETTE
241 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013

Holy Ground

Holy Ground is a new sacred place for me. I like to call it Tribeca’s answer to the West Village’s 4 Charles. Only here, along with a sexy set-up, you get a bit more space and a hell of a lot more smoke.

Now, don’t get all excited; you can’t smoke here. I’m talking about smoked meats. I struggled with how to categorize this joint, but I ultimately decided to call it BBQ rather than a steakhouse or traditional restaurant, because several of the meat proteins are focused on smoking and/or slow and low roasting. Even their grilled steaks are slow roasted first, to allow flavors to penetrate deep into that tender, pink flesh.

You step into this meat sanctuary on the northwest corner of Reade Street, just east of West Broadway. That’s a mouthful, but read it carefully again and let it sink in. The door is pretty nondescript, but you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see this:

A hostess will lead you through a dimly lit, winding corridor and down a set of narrow, carpeted stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is a landing with a small but really fucking awesome bar parlor.

From there you can take in the vibe of this place, which is 100% my speed. It’s old tile. It’s dark wood. It’s deep reds. A speakeasy.

A few “rooms” are tucked away in nooks and crannies, up two steps here, around the wall there. Here’s the best seat in the house (when you look up):

Here is booth where we sat:

The four of us did some serious fucking damage. Let me get into it.

The cocktail menu is nice, but I had just tried a couple of cocktails (and a burger) earlier that evening at Manhatta, so I went with my usual: a gin martini. They are a bit on the small side, in those dainty, round, old fashioned martini glasses.

On a second trip, we tried both the red head and the odeon. Both were great. The odeon, on the right, is slammable!

The food menu is pretty meat-forward, but they do have some star quality fish and veggie items, which I will get into shortly.

We started with three apps and an entree to begin. I will tell you up front that we ordered nearly half of the menu, and nothing was bad. But the first thing to come out were these tremendous head-on, grilled red prawns.

They were damn delicious; one of my favorite dishes of the night. The heads hold a lot of juice, so when you pop them off, you may want some bread nearby if you aren’t going to slurp it all directly down your gullet like I did.

Next up was a plate of wings. These are smoked and char grilled, so they carry a fuckton of flavor. A great starter or bar snack.

We also grabbed the radicchio salad, which was one of my favorite items of the night. No shit. These veggies were perfect. I managed to get a shot before it was all gone, but my pic doesn’t do the dish justice. I will be returning soon to get it again.

The return shot:

We shared the beef rib as an appetizer. This is an impressive dish.

You’ll notice that sauce and color across several of the BBQ style dishes here. It has a mustard base with a little smokey and hot kick to it. Absolutely delicious. It’s like a cross of Carolina and Cajun style sauces. Very unique, like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.

The beef itself is slow smoked; tender, but still texturally intact. It isn’t some sloppy, soft, boiled, braised bullshit. This is the real deal. 9/10. And we learned that all the meats they use come from Dartagnan foods, which is a very high end purveyor of top notch proteins and gourmet ingredients.

On a second trip, my wife and I had the pork belly appetizer.

This is easily one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. The crackling is crisp, and that fermented chili sauce is killer. They only have a few of these per night, so go early if you want to try it. It is incredible!

Round two was the big show. This is where we crushed it. We couldn’t really narrow down our selections, so we just ordered everything – even the fish. We each had a different favorite too, which was pretty cool, and usually means that everything is great.

First, the wagyu brisket. This is the half-pound portion size for $21.

Again slow roasted and smoked, topped with that same delicious sauce. This is by far the best brisket I’ve ever eaten. 10/10

Next up, the Kurobuta pork shoulder. This is the individual portion size for $32.

This was so juicy. Extremely tender, and again that sauce really pushed it along into greatness. 8/10.

You may be thinking, “Well, shit, why don’t they come up with some more variety in the sauces on these things?”

My answer is this: most people aren’t ordering every major protein on the menu when they come here. Most likely just one person at the table is getting a dish that has the sauce on it. And most BBQ joints have the same sauce on the table for you to slather onto your meat anyway. No one is complaining there about variety, are they? I say it’s fine. The sauce is delicious, and it works with those three BBQ dishes (pork shoulder, beef brisket, beef rib).

Our next protein was the king’s cut prime rib with smoked herb jus.

This baby was cooked dead on to medium rare even though it was smoked for hours first. That is a feat in itself, but it still managed to stay juicy and tender. Bravo. 9/10.

Take a look at how thick it is too, and the size of the cap. This easily feeds two people who have normal appetites, possibly three.

Last but not least in the world of meat was the grilled wagyu rib eye. This “Thousand Dollar Steak,” as it’s called on the menu, is 30-days dry aged and served with a demi-glaze and onion puree.

It, too, is smoked before being grilled. This went a little over, but it was no matter because it was still incredibly tender and flavorful. The sauce reminded me of a really concentrated onion gravy like mom used to make. It had a spectacular cap too. 8/10.

But wait… there’s more! Whole branzino.

This was char-grilled to perfection and served with a nice bright tartar sauce and lemon. One of my buddies said it was just like his mom used to make, and he loved it. This was one of my favorites of the night as well.

On a second trip, I tried both the ribs and the chicken. Both were served in a different sauce than the beef items above. They were different from one another, but both were on the sweeter side. I generally dislike sweet in my entrees, but this was mild and just right, not over the top. The chicken had an almost maple flavor to it.

The half order of ribs is enough for one. There were eight good-sized ribs on the plate.

For sides, we tried the broccoli, collared greens and mac and cheese.

The mac was the most superior of the three for me, and it was wildly tasty when we dragged those thick rigatoni pasta tubes through that delicious BBQ sauce.

I’m not sure how we managed, but we tried a few desserts as well.

This was a strawberry shortcake, and it was served uniquely in a glass, almost upside down, if you will, with the graham cracker crumble as a topping rather than a crust.

A classic ice cream sundae in a mug. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream, toffee sauce, vanilla crumbs and whipped cream.

This is the Black & Blonde:

The base is a bed of toasted meringue, and on top are some toasted hazelnuts, a white chocolate bar and salted caramel.

This is one of my new favorite places to eat. Not only is the environment great, but the food and service are top notch as well. This place is going to start getting packed out, so make your reservations ASAP. I’m going back again very soon, and again and again as often as I can.

HOLY GROUND
112 Reade St
New York, NY 10013

Hank’s Juicy Beef

After our Chicago trip, I realized there was a place downtown that serves Chicago style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. That place is called Hank’s Juicy Beef.

Here’s the run down:

The hot dog is great. A fine representation of the Chicago dog.

Nice and plump too.

The Italian beef sandwich is on par with Portillo’s, which was my favorite of the trip. The giardiniera had both celery and carrots in it, and the sliced peppers were added in for the spicy version.

We added some provolone to it as well. The only down side was the bread. It was a little stale. I guess that’s why you get it dipped, and continue to dip it into the jus cup that they provide.

We also tried their sweet Italian sausage sandwich. This was great as well. Same deal with the bread though.

Curly fries for the finish!

I definitely recommend giving this place a try.

HANK’S JUICY BEEF
84 Chambers St
New York, NY 10007

Harolds Meat + Three

Last night I tried a ton of really great American, and specifically NY/NJ, comfort food here at Harold’s Meat + Three. There’s a lot to discuss, so I might as well get right down to it.

WINGS

Brined, smoked and grilled, these are some of the best, most deeply flavorful wings I’ve ever had. They have a great charcoal, wood-fired flavor to them.

PIZZA

We sampled two wood fired flatbread pizzas. The first, an arugula, cheese and ham:

The second, egg, cheese and Taylor ham. Amazing. Off the menu, but you can ask for it at brunch time.

BURGERS & SANDWICHES

Breakfast burger with sunny side egg, taylor ham and American. This tasted like a great white castle slider mixed with a classic deli style egg sandwich.

The South Jersey Soul Crusher: five thick cut, griddled slices of Taylor ham (or pork roll, depending on which part of Jersey you’re in), on an everything bagel. Perfect hangover food.

Egg sandwich with American cheese, salt, pepper and ketchup. A classic, but on a potato bun, and with some pork roll added for good measure. So tasty.

The award winning burger. This baby is simple and delicious. Two smash patties, lots of american, pickles, and a smear of ketchup and mustard, all on a potato bun. Perfect.

BLT. Perfectly executed with Harold Moore’s smoked bacon and crispy Taylor ham bits.

Speaking of smoked bacon, we had a plate of that as well. Incredible.

CHOPS

The rib eye steak.

This is wet aged and simply grilled to a perfect medium rare. Served with an array of veggies so you feel good about yourself.

The lamb blade chop.

I love when places offer interesting and less common cuts of meat. Harold nails it with a citrus marinade, Italian herbs and crushed red pepper. A squeeze from the grilled lemon really made this do backflips on my tastebuds. Check out the perfect cook temp inside:

PASTA (sweet potato tortellini)

There’s smoked ricotta, sage and brown butter in those beauties.

TRIPE STEW

That’s garlic bread on the side there with it. Super tender, great sauce with aji panca chili.

BISCUITS

This biscuit with pork roll bits inside was incredible. Great way to start the meal (sorry I’m adding it here so late).

DESSERT

Miniature soft serve vanilla ice cream cones. My favorite kind of ice cream. I’m a simple man.

Chocolate cake with ice cream on top. Gotta have the rainbow sprinkles on the frosting too.

Not one bad bite in the bunch. I really suggest you get down here and try this place ASAP. So good, and currently still somewhat “under the radar” of people who like to line up like assholes for food. Not for long though. This place is amazing.

HAROLD’S MEAT + THREE
2 Renwick St
New York NY 10013

Church Street Tavern

I went to Church Street Tavern with my wife and the founder of The Dishelin Guide and the DishEnvy app to finally check out their acclaimed burgers. The talk is accurate. These burgers are fantastic! We tried two: The Wellington and the CST Burger.

Let’s start with The Wellington: the patty is topped with mushroom duxelles (french for chopped mushrooms, onions and shallots sauteed with butter and herbs), foie butter and a cheesy pastry crisp that mimics the puff pastry that typically surrounds a Beef Wellington dish.

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You can see it sticking out the side here like a piss-clam tail, or a limp geoduck phallus.

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I guess those words aren’t the best to use when describing delicious food, but that’s what comes to mind. Anyway, I was expecting the burger to be wrapped in the pastry, just like traditional Beef Wellington (pictured below), but that wasn’t the case.

The burger was good. It was cooked to a nice medium rare, and the toppings were delicious. The bun held up nicely, didn’t crumble and wasn’t too stiff.

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The better burger of the pair, however, was the namesake CST (Church Street Tavern) Burger, which was topped with bacon-onion jam, aged cheddar, and arugula.

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It was seved on the same toasted brioche bun, but this burger had a much better flavor to the meat, perhaps from better seasoning and searing. Cooked to a perfect, juicy medium rare, this burger really hit the spot. I’d definitely go back for another.

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The big surprise of the evening, though, was this amazing porchetta sandwich that we saw on the menu.

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It’s a nice, tender pork sandwich with sauteed spinach and melted Swiss cheese. There were even some crispy pork bits in there for texture. The spinach had a nice hit of garlic to it without having any chunks of the breath-killer hidden inside. And the Swiss was surprisingly tasty to me. I didn’t expect to like Swiss with Italian pork, but it worked. I highly recommend this sandwich.

The fries here are equally satisfying. They’re slightly more squat and thicker than most places, but they’re cooked perfectly and generously-yet-simply seasoned with salt and herbs.

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The bar here is pretty nice too, and at happy hour you can get $4 select beers. I had a Session lager:

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CHURCH STREET TAVERN
313 Church St.
New York, NY 10013

Roll & Go

Roll & Go opened up in our old neighborhood at the former location of a Subway sandwich shop.

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This is by far one of the largest dollar pizza joints around.

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Not only is the space large, but so is the menu. I guess you can say this is a restaurant rather than a dollar pizza joint… I mean, look at the selections here. Even rotisserie chicken!

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You might think that with all of these choices they wouldn’t have good pizza, since they’re spread too thin into other cuisines, but you’d be wrong. Let me tell you, this was one of the best slices for a buck that I’ve ever eaten.

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It was crispy, had some good cheese and sauce on top, and the crust was thicker than cardboard, had some air in it for softness, but still came with that necessary crunch. Total victory here.

ROLL & GO
362 Broadway
New York, NY 10013

Square Diner

One of my all time favorite diners to eat at is down in Tribeca. The place is small, and they keep their prices fucking LOW. It’s a low key little joint where you almost feel like you’ve stepped into suburbia, if not for the occasional celebrity dining across from you in sunglasses with a newspaper in front of their face. I always went for standard diner fare here, like eggs, pancakes, burgers, fries, and shakes. Never disappointed for what it is.

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I went to law school around the block from this little hole in the wall, and my first impression upon seeing it and walking in was that it was going to suck. It’s just a skinny, narrow little one story building with old school signage. But I have to say – this diner is one of the best I’ve ever been to in my life. The food is CHEAP too, but very good. Prime example is the burger. For under $10 you can get a burger deluxe with fries and a drink, and it’s good shit. The interior is close quarters: there’s a bar seating area and a dozen or so tables that stretch back into a narrowing corner. The fun part is that on occasion you will see some famous actors who live nearby eating there or grabbing coffee. This place is definitely worth a try, at the very least for the nostalgia and cheap-eats aspect. You will feel like you are out of town for sure.

SQUARE DINER
33 Leonard St.
New York, NY 10013

Taco House

Nothing to brag about here. This is one of those wham-bam thank you ma’am type of Mexican food joints run by Asians. Pretty much everything is under $2. It will fill you up, but make sure you’re close to a toilet bowl after about 30 minutes, just to be safe. This stuff got me through law school, so I can’t knock it too much. I always went for the bean burritos and the guacamole with grilled chicken, because the regular tacos were just too fucking greasy. Shit you pay, shits you get.

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TACO HOUSE
178 Church St.
New York, NY 10013

Pakistan Tea House

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

One of my late night food fix spots, this place serves up great food for a low price. I get the Makhani chicken with spinach and chic peas over rice. Always satisfies, and the fresh made bread in the tandoori oven is amazing. Always tons of cabs out front = you know it is good.

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PAKISTAN TEA HOUSE
176 Church St.
New York, NY 10013

Smith & Mills

Smith & Mills is a tiny little joint in Tribeca that’s known for serving up great cocktails. They use herbs, fire, egg whites, spices, the whole nine. But what is less known is that they serve up some really great food as well. My wife and I came here and we sampled some of the stuff.

Mussels. Packed with flavor, delicious broth for dipping the bread too. Sop that shit up.

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Burrata. Absolutely perfect. Soft, savory, sweet, tomatoes were juicy and flavorful, and the bread was again fantastic.

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Plus, if you can get one of their pull-back toy cars to ride across the entire length of the bar, you get a free drink! Beware of the Corvette though. Getting it to generate enough speed is difficult, and it likes to pull to the right.

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SMITH & MILLS
71 N. Moore St.
New York, NY 10013